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Cleaning Up My Act

Let's face it, I'm a bit lazy when it comes to preparing food. I like quick, simple, idiot-proof meals and snacks. Something that doesn't go bad when I forget it's in the fridge for a few days. And stuff that doesn't require going to the grocery store all the time. Or eating lunch that someone else makes for me when my coworkers and I go out. There's a problem with the foods that fit my criteria, they're processed, sodium-laden, water-retaining foods that are totally messing me up.

So I think I need a shift in strategy. Nothing else seems to be working with this plateau. I thought I had it figured out with eating more, but maybe I was eating more of the wrong stuff... So instead of having a granola bar for a snack, what's wrong with apple slices? Or clementines? Or fruit salad? Or carrots? It's all natural, fresh food. Salads for lunch from the cafeteria are great, but Subway or Chick Fil A has enough sodium in it for the entire day! Even if I get the healthiest options, a sandwich from either place has 1000mg+ of sodium! So, I'm thinking I need to start making my lunches, at least a few days a week.

So, I'm gonna brainstorm some ideas for what to eat, since it'll involve changing my habits from what I'm comfortable with, especially ease of finding lunch at work. I sit at my desk all day, but I have access to a microwave, fridge, toaster, and freezer. So I can store and heat up lunches pretty easily. Or save them for a day if I want to eat out with my coworkers once or twice in the week.

Breakfast: I'm liking my english muffin with peanut butter. The PB is all natural (there are like 6 ingredients in it) and quite delicious, with organic muffins from Whole Foods. Perhaps I can add a hard boiled egg or something to this combo (not on the english muffin... haha, ew).  

Lunch: Now here's where it gets tricky. I could make a large enough chicken breast at idinner to heat up the other half for lunch the next day. Same with microwaving some veggies. Or I could make some pasta salad with wheat or veggie pasta and low callorie dressing and make enough for a few meals. Chili is super easy to freeze and heat up at will (I already do this for dinners when I'm short on time). Same with soup (make my own or buy low sodium). Wraps with some chicken breast and hummus or guac. Or the good old sandwich with low calorie bread and low sodium lunchmeat. Looks like I have more options than I realized!

Dinner: This I've gotten down pretty well. I stick to fish fillets or chicken breast with a side of spaghetti squash or zucchini or something tasty like that. I try to avoid carbs when I have dinner after a workout.

Snacks: Here's where I can do a better job with processed food. I need to eat more fruits and veggies as snacks. I bought a big bag of clementines to bring to work, I can buy strawberries, baby carrots apple slices... lots of options! I still have my protein bars for when I want to have fuel for a workout. I like granola bars, but they are pretty carby, so fruits nad veggies are better. And of course, my favorite greek yogurt as my evening snack that I have every night almost.

 

So, there you have it! It's not as hard or daunting when I lay it out like that. I don't plan on going back to undereating, but if I can get enough CLEAN calories, I think it might really help things. I've been eating too much junk and it's really stalling my progress. And, I need to not go nuts with beer at kickball... haha. That was bad last week.  

Easy Come, Not So Easy Go

It always starts with one less than stellar day. Kickball's first game of the season. Beer for dinner... and then partaking in my teammates nachos. 80 oz of Yeungling later and my Friday morning was painful (and the scale wasn't happy either). Then Friday was my 6 month anniversary with Randy, and I had an amazing gourmet burger and fries at our favorite restaurant in DC. Scale REALLY not happy. Then comes Easter weekend with my family in Jersey (in which I was stuffed with food) and my mom's birthday yesterday where I took her to lunch. And the scale this morning was 7 lbs higher than my 148.1 lb low from 2 Thursdays ago! WHOAAAAAA CAN THAT REALLY HAPPEN???

 

Yes, it can, when I completely let myself go and eat enough sodium-laden food for a month. It just goes to show how quickly it can snowball. And how quickly I can slide back into old habits. I admit lately I've been letting myself enjoy things, like I posted before I don't want to be a diet hermit. But I think I took the freedom toooooo far. I can live my life without eating a giant plate of food at Easter and then sampling every single kind of dessert. And no one needs 80 oz of beer... LOL!

So, new rule. Moderation! I'm not gonna say no to dinner with someone or eating with my family, but i need to get smarter about what I'm eating. And I need to get better with working out when I'm busy. I haven't had a workout since last Wednesday! Oy... and my 5K is this Sunday. So I need to really focus on turning things around this week. New rules:

1. If I eat out, it has to be a healthy choice. No more burgers, fries, heavy calorie-laden mac n cheese, etc. I don't have to pick the highest calorie menu item to enjoy my food.

2. No letting a busy schedule stop me from working out for a week. I could have gotten up on Easter and worked out for 30 minutes. I wasn't doing anything. Same with Monday morning. So, no more lame excuses for not working out.

3. I'm cleaning up my eating in general. I need to try to cut back on sodium at lunch with eating Subway or Chick Fil A several times a week. I think I'm gonna start making my own lunch to bring in a few times a week. It's not hard to make a quick sandwich with low sodium lunch meat.

Hopefully I can stick to all this, it's something I need to do or else I'm gonna start going backwards, and it's bad enough being still stuck around 150. I was going in the right direction for about 2 weeks, and then kickball and stuff both weekends completely derailed it. Time to get back in gear... 

Diet Hermit

So, I'm feeling like a bit of a charlatan in terms of plateau busting. I thought I finally had done it, I was seeing below 150 for a while and then it started to creep back up again, and then I had a weekend of eating out, and now it's been squarely above since Saturday. It was only a week ago I saw a low of 148.1! So, now I'm not sure what's going on, and I'm starting to question myself. Have I really been as diligent as I thought? Probably not. 

I think I can narrow it down to two things, I've eaten out too much and I haven't gotten to workout as much as I want to. But like I wrote about in my last blog, it's about balancing life with a healthy lifestyle. My best friend from high school visited me this weekend, so inevitably we ate, we drank, but I didn't go overboard. Kept the drinks to a minimum, didn't order anything horrible and I kept portion size reasonable. But sodium sucks. And extra food and not as much wrking out is gonna do annoying things to the scale. And it's something I'm gonna have to constantly deal with. So...

I could give up going out to dinner with friends, family, my boyfriend, etc

I could give up drinking on Thursdays with my kickball team

I could give up eating lunch out with my coworkers and eating lunch alone at my desk every day

I could give up eating the occasional cupcake

I could give up having anything but saintly healthy food in my apartment

I could give up doing anything in the evening but going to the gym

I could give up delicious craft beer that my beer guru of a boyfriend picks out for me

I could give up delicious anniversary dinners like our 6 month dinner tomorrow night 

But how happy would I be? Not very... I'm 24! I'm finally confident and happy and dating someone and TINY! Well, tiny enough.

I'm not gonna be a diet hermit!

 

I've already decided that I'm OK if it takes a while to get to my goal weight, and I know that I'm gonna have to sacrifice a bit to get there. But I'm not going crazy Biggest Loser and working out 6 hours a day and eating nothing. I have a healthy body fat %, a healthy waist measurement, and my BMI is nearly healthy with about 8 lbs to go. I still workout with my trainer once a week. I'm gonna keep up all my good habits, and really make an effort to keep losing weight. But not at the expense of driving myself insane. I tend to hpyer-focus on one thing, it's part of my OCD-ness, and weight loss has been my focus for a year now. It's not healthy for my brain to keep it up! I need to socialize and get out and drink beer and focus on other things. Otherwise I'll just drive myself insane.

So, my overall message here is not that I'm giving up, or slacking off. I'm just living my life the way I want to, and being healthy is part of that. But so is being happy. 

Happy Weight vs. Goal Weight

Sometimes I feel like I'm waging war against my body and the scale. When we start this journey, we always have a magic number in mind. Like "I want to weigh what I did in high school" or "I want to weigh what I did before I got pregnant". In my case, it was "I want to be considered a healthy weight in the BMI scale" since I've never been close to that number before.

But what we don't realize is that sometimes our bodies have other things in mind. It just might not be possible, healthy, etc to get to what you were when you were 18, or get to a weight much lower than we've ever been as adults (which is my case). But that doesn't mean we can't look good! I've realized during my prolonged plateau that even at 10 lbs "overweight" still, I really don't look like it. There's muscle tone and fitting into a size 6 (sometimes 8 in a small-running store). Things that people who weigh 150 and are 5'3" don't always have.

So it's felt like I've been fighting my body to get to my magic number. Like everyone else on here, I know exactly where my flaws still are, where I'd like to magically suck away the extra fat that is lingering (my thighs and stomach). I can see EXACTLY where those 10 lbs should melt off. But, I'm melting about as fast as a popsicle in a freezer. Or so it feels like. Since I finally busted through my plateau, it's felt more like crawling past in instead of busting. I've lost about 3 lbs, but it's a roller coaster. Here's my daily weigh in chart since breaking the plateau...

 

 
Yep, ROLLER COASTER! And it looks like a fun one... lots of exciting drops and painful hills. But, that's been my weight tracked over the last 3 weeks. I got down to a low of 148.1 lbs on Friday, only to bounce back up to a 3 week high of 152.3 this morning. And the average is right around 150 give or take.
 
So I ask myself, is this my happy weight? Is 140 something that isn't going to happen unless I get completely drastic, change my habits even more, give up eating out, drinking... working out nonstop? Is that something I'd want to do to myself.
 
And it's not! I love living a healthy lifestyle. But I love having Thai food with my best friend and boyfriend on a Sunday afternoon (with a fruity umbrella drink!). And the occasional beer. And skipping a workout to hang out with my kickball team. Its a balance. Could I get down to 140 in 5 weeks? Sure, but it'll suck. And it's not something I want to do to myself.
 
In short, I'm taking a bit of a new perspective on things. My aim is still going to be 140, but I'm not going to go nuts just to achieve it. I believe that in time, my body is adjusting to lower and lower weights, so where it used to be happy maintaining around 215 lbs (badddd), it's now happy right around 150 lbs (goooood).  And as I keep up my running and balanced eating and toning up my muscles with my trainer, I'll look much better, even if the scale is inching downward. Already I can tell my stomach is starting to flatten out (miracle!!!!) and wearing a bikini this summer isn't scaring the crap out of me. And that's weighing 148 (on a good day, haha). I'll get to my goal, it might happen in a month... or a few months... or by Christmas! But it'll happen. The important thing is that I continue to push myself, push my body, and not let it get TOO comfortable.

Control Freak

I'll be the first one to admit it. I'm a complete control freak. Couple that with some OCD and you have a successful formula for weight loss. And weight fixation. And trying to control every little detail every single moment of every single day. I never really bought into the whole fate and destiny and leaving things in someone else's hands. If I want something done, I have to do it myself. No one can lose the weight for me, but some dedication and focusing on what I need to do right, I can get there myself.

Recently, the scale hasn't been on board with this plan. Like I blogged about yesterday, I'm on a roller coaster every morning and it's starting to get to me. And then I heard on Friday that my boyfriend (we work for the same company) is only employed in his contract job until June and then he has to "find something else". I'm frustrated that I can't be much help and other people he's talking to aren't being very responsive either. It annoys me sometimes that I have NO control over situations sometimes.

And I think that brings me back to my scale fixation. That's something I CAN control. No one else puts food in my mouth, no one else makes me get on the treadmill and run. I have the ability to make all the right choices and things will work out, right?

Yeah, if only it was that easy. By all accounts I am doing everything right. I eat my calories, I workout daily, I eat healthy foods, I get 8 hours of sleep a night, I drink my water. And yet, my body is stuck. Still. And I think it's partly because I keep stressing about it. That's not part of the equation for losing weight. And stressing about my boyfriend's job isn't going to magically make a new one appear. In fact, stressing is the least productive thing ever. Instead, I need to focus on taking action. Scale not moving, eat less sodium. Boyfriend not getting emails back, talk to my managers to see if they have openings. There are more productive ways to deal with a problem than stress.

So, I still don't believe in fate or anything getting me down to 140 or finding my boyfriend a new position in our company, but there are better things I can do about the situation than stress. And that's what I'm going to try to focus on. If I know eating giant meals on the weekends results in 2+ pounds for several days after, I need to be smarter about what i order. So, I'm still gonna be a control freak, but I'm just going to be a more productive one... 

The Scale Has Its Ups and Downs

Just like life can be an emotional roller coaster, so can the scale! There are mornings when I'm giddy at seeing a new low number, something I can log on here as a success. And then are mornings like yesterday and today, where the scale has magically jumped 2 pounds and I sulk out of the bathroom to go get dressed, peeved that the delicious dinner I had with my boyfriend on Saturday night (and brunch on Sunday...) is still sticking around. 

So I decided a week and a half ago to start making an Excel spreadsheet with my daily weigh ins. I was curious if a pattern was emerging, if my weight really was a roller coaster like it seemed. And sure enough, that's EXACTLY what it looks like. It's up, it's down, it's REALLY down, it's going up another giant hill (hopefully preparing for a giant drop again)... and this is all in 13 days! It can be slightly maddening. So, here's what my chart looks like:  

And as you can see, it's pretty much all over the place! Up, down, up, down, REALLY UP!  But it's all still useful. I reached a new low at 148.9 on Friday. Even though it's up to above 151 yesterday and today, that's still a sign that I'm losing weight, it's just masked by water weight from this weekend. The line is a moving average of the data points. So it had been trending downward, even its still right around 150 even with the high weigh ins.

So, in short, you can't look at one day by itself! That's the bad thing about a weekly weigh in. Maybe it'll be a day where I'm at the bottom of the curve and it I can log 2 pounds lost. Maybe it's a day where I'm at the very top and it looks like I've actually GAINED! But, once I string it al ltogether, I can see that I don't have to stress over the past 2 data points. I know from many weigh ins that around Wed/Thurs, my weight drops again once my body is back in gear.  Plus I've had bad allergies in the last week so who knows how that plays in. I'm going to continue keeping track and hopefully that line (as wiggly as it is), starts to trend downward.

Q&A Session - The Answers Part 3

I've gotten a few more questions that I really want to answer, so here's one more edition of my Q&A session! I need something to take my mind off the 2 lbs of water weight I managed to put on this weekend from eating out with my boyfriend. But it was fun and I kept my portions under control. Anyways, on to the questions!

1.) When I push myself, I find my heart rate has been going up to 180, sometimes higher. I know you're not supposed to go into that zone but I feel like I'm not working as hard as when my heart rate is around 160. What are your thoughts on this?

When I workout, I aim to get my heart rate at least to 160, preferably higher. When I run, my heart rate is anywhere from 175-182 and once it starts to get near 185 is when I have to back down the intensity a bit to be able to continue. I don't think it's a bad thing at all to get your heart rate up that high. I have found that over time, I've been able to sustain a high heart rate MUCH longer than when I started. For example, in my early days of trying to run, a minute running would have my heart rate at 185 and I'd be totally out of breath. But as I've gotten in better shape, I take my HR right up to 180 and keep it there for 20-30 minutes, even more! When I ran my 5K on Saturday morning at the gym, my HR was in the 180s for around 40 minutes. It's good to push yourself, do interval training that gets your HR up, and you burn more calories. I don't believe it's bad to get up that high since it's above the "fat burning zone". You make up for that quite a bit with the extra calories you're burning.

 

2.) In reference to what I changed to break my plateau... How did you determine your calorie goal? How much more did you up your calories? And did you keep your exercise the same?

I put in lightly active for my activity level and then set myself to lose 1 lb per week. That's how I got myself to 1400 base calories. I've been bouncing around between as low as 1200 base and as high as 1500 base. I just decided to go with what was most accurate and sustainable. But, I also started to eat back some exercise calories so I'm consuming between 1500-1700 calories a day now. I somewhat increased the intensity of my exercise by taking up running a few days a week. It's been a great workout and I average running/walking (getting better at running more of it) 3-4 times a week. Sometimes outside depending on the weather, but usually at the gym.  

3.) When you reach your goal weight (and I know you will), do you think you will need to contrinue logging food, at least intermittently in your food diary as part of maintenance or do you see yourself being able to maintain without doing so?

That's a good question! I've definitely gotten better with "eyeballing" food for calorie content and I have a pretty good mental tally in my head. I suspect I won't be logging forever, but I don't want to stop as soon as I hit a goal weight. I tend to eat along the same things at least during the week, so sticking to that won't be too hard. I still plan to look up calories for what I eat and make healthy choices. I think this will lend itself to being able to stop logging, but I still plan to use MFP. It's a great source of information and I want to be able to encourage people that are still on their journey. It's great when MFP-ers stick around after they reach their goal to help others, and I plan to do the same.

4.) You have mentioned your sister a few times as being slimmer than you. Did she ever have a weight problem? If not, what do you think was the difference that made this aspect of your lives different?

That's such an awesome question! Yes, my little sister is 130 lbs and a size 4 and in fantastic shape. And I know there are a few reasons she's managed to be like that her entire life. I remember when she was excited to be able to fit into size 0 in high school instead of kids sizes (i know, gag me... hahah). So, I can think of a few reasons why two girls raised in the same house by the same parents and went to the same schools ended up so vastly different in terms of weight and health. First off, Krissi is allergic to milk (not just lactose intolerant). She can't have ANY dairy products whatsoever, so no ice cream, cheese, chocolate, ANYTHING. That removes a lot of the high calories foods that we tend to eat in abundance. Also, she's been particiating in sports and dancing since she was 6. She's done soccer, softball, swimming, cheerleading, gymnastics, and finally she's still a competitive Irish Dancer. So even at age 20, she's been working out on a regular basis her entire life. So that girl can definitely eat, but she has an AMAZING metabolism from all the activity. And she's see what happens when she slacks off and doesn't get any activity in (she's gained like 5 lbs, freaks out, and it's gone in a few weeks... lucky...). But I think those two things are the big difference. I tried sports but it never stuck. I liked more academic things, that involved lots of brain power and that's it. So... now that I'm getting active it's nice because she is too! And I've already decided that when I'm a parent, my kids are going to be involved in activities to get them moving. They can join the band like I did, but they're picking a sport too so they get regular exercise in.

 

So there's the last of my questions! Hope that these few blog posts have been helpful. If you have anything else you want to ask, message me and I can always include them in another blog that I write at the bottom. 

Q&A Session - The Answers Part 2

I'm really excited everyone liked the first Part of my Q&A session! Here's some more questions that I received, and always feel free to post more questions on the bottom or message me questions! I'm happy to keep this going as long as people have questions to ask. Especially since I'm really starting to see the results from busting my plateau. I've been right around 149 lbs for the past 2 day, which is a new record low for me!

Ok, on to the questions!

1.) What are your daily workouts like? Do you think it's mainly diet that helped you to lose? Do you give yourself cheat days? 

First off, my workouts have changed quite a bit since I first started. When I started exercising, I was using the EA Sports Active game for the Wii (and using the free gym in my office building twice a week, on the elliptical). Then I did the 30 Day Shred, then I took up Chalean Extreme and started trying to run on the treadmill. Then I did Turbo Fire for a few months. THEN I joined a gym, got a trainer, and now I run 5K a few days a week (either treadmill or trail outside) and have a personal training session, and I throw in some other cardio machines on the days I don't feel like running or I need a running break. Phew... that's a lot of variety! And I think that's the key to success! Mix it up! I don't think it's just diet that you have ot change, you need to change your whole lifestyle! I started eating better, my workouts were building muscle (which dieting alone won't do), and I started getting into a healthy mindset.

I do allow myself to enjoy a treat on occasion. Mainly, it's dinner and beer with my boyfriend once a week and I never log it. But that doesn't mean I go nuts. I'll still pick a somewhat healthy option and try to keep it to 2-3 beers (I rarely go over that, I'm a lightweight now!) I can honestly say I've never really deprived myself this whole time, I just make smart decisions. Do I really want that cupcake or cake when I know I'm already close to my calories or I won't get to workout. If I stop and think about it, 90% of the time I choose not to.

2.) Should you lose weight first then try to tone up as you go? And any issues with flabby stomach/loose skin?

I've been doing strength training since the beginning, and I think that's important for a few reasons. First, if you build up muscle, you will burn more calories at rest than if you don't strength train. This helps you to burn more calories on a daily basis and you have the potential to lose faster. Second, you'll look MUCH better at a higher weight. I've had several people tell me they don't believe I weight 150, including nurses at a doctor's office! This is because I've built up some nice muscle. My arms are toned and my legs are getting toned and under my muffin top are abs! So even though I weigh 150, I'm a size 6! Yep, SIX! So my goal is 135-140, and I know I'll look like I weight quite a bit less. I'm happy with that. And yes, perhaps i could have lost more weight if I didn't focus on strength training, but I wouldn't look nearly as good.

As for loose skin, it hasn't been a major issue for me and I've lost 66 pounds. That being said, it's hard to judge what the case will be in another 10 pounds. I think the plateau has almost been a good thing because my stomach is starting to flatten out. There's still fat there, but it's not loose skin. My inner thighs are still kinda jiggly, but again, fat and not loose skin. The only minor problem area is my underarms (aka bat wings). If I hold my arms straight out, the skiin is a bit loose there, but it's not really noticeable because my upper arms and shoulders are quite toned right now. But I'm 24, never had kids, and genes are on my side. I can't say everyone will have the same luck as me.

3.) On the Biggest Loser this week, Brett told Courtney that she had to increase her calories and bring down her exercise burn. What do you think about that theory and have you tried it?

Honestly, when I watched that part of the show, I was practically jumping up and down in joy. FINALLY the Biggest Loser is acknowledging that not everyone can sustain a low calorie, high exercise diet forever! Courtney had been losing weight for a year, lost 200 pounds, and it was clear to me 2 weeks ago she was starting to plateau. And the fact that Brett brought it up and they showed it on camera made me SO happy! Yes, once you've reached a plateau after eating low calorie for 6+ months and/or you're close to a healthy weight, you will need to EAT MORE! That's one of my biggest campaign issues right now. EAT MORE! Your body needs fuel and it's running out of fat to burn (even if your jiggly stomach and thighs think otherwise). If you starve it AND burn 600 calories a day, it's going to rebel. I can say that is the #1 reason I've broken my plateau. I eat upwards of 1600 calories a day now. And ya know what, I've lost at least half a pound a week since I started seeing it work. So don't be afraid to eat more!

4.) If you burn 900 calories one day and don't eat them all back, do you use them for the next day? Or does it start over every day?

Personally, I try to approach each day on it's own. i don't really carry over big burns to mean I can eat more the next day. That being said, I tend to stick to around the same amount of calories daily, regardless of working out. So I eat 1600 give or take a day. Some days that means I've eaten back half of my exercise calories. On rest days that means I'm technically over. But I do think it all evens out and it's essentially zig zagging my calories. It's what works for me, but just because I burned 1000 calories in a really intense workout session, I won't go the next day and eat a cheeseburger. In fact, I don't remember the last time I ate a cheeseburger... WOW!

5.) I saw in your last Q&A that your trainer has you doing "good cardio", what are examples of "bad cardio"? I hope it's not the elliptical because I love that thing... 

In my opinion, there aren't really "bad cardio" machines at all. But if you can chat on your cell phone, talk to your buddy next to you, and your makeup stays intact throughout that workout, that's bad cardio (and you're taking up valuable machines that REAL people need to use...). You're not getting your heart rate up, pushing your body, or doing anything meaningful. My trainer defines good cardio as really pushing myself and getting my heart rate up. So I'll do the stairmaster, the ellptical on a HIGH resistance, or running on the treadmill. I can really use any machine, but I have to make it a challenge. That's what i mean by "good cardio".

Looks like I'm out of questions! If you want to see a Part 3 and have questions that I didn't already answer, post below please!! I'd love to keep this going. 

 

 

Q&A Session - The Answers Part 1

I got lots of great questions on my blog post from yesterday, and I'm going to use a few blog posts to answer them so it's not too much at once. Here are my answers to the first set of questions!

1.) Do I need to eat my exercise calories? If I'm eating 1200 a day and burning 600 in exercise, does this mean I need to eat 1800 total?

Ah, the million dollar question. I've seen dozens of posts and message boards asking this, and it's a hot topic on here. I addressed it in detail in my Plateau blog, but to sum up my personal experience with this: When I started I rarely ate exercise calories. However, I was 75 lbs above a healthy weight when I started. So for the first 65 lbs, not really eating my exercise calories worked. I burned anywhere from 300-600 calories a day and I worked out pretty consistantly. Then I got to the dreaded "Last 10 Pounds" and my weight loss came to a screeching halt. And for a few months I tried doing what had worked for the first 65 lbs and wondered why I wasn't losing. I tried less calories, that REALLY didn't work. So I started eating more... and more. And now I'm averaging 1600 calories a day. And ya know what, I'm LOSING! I don't eat back every single exercise calorie, and on days I don't have a dedicated workout, I'm still eating 1500+. So it all evens out. But if you are close to a healthy weight or you have been eating low calories with high calorie burns for 6 months or more, there is a good chance you are going to have to eat MORE to continue to lose weight once you hit a plateau. And make sure you are honest and accurate with your logging. Measuring and weighing food really helps. 

2.) How long did it take you to get to where you are, weight wise, now?

 I started at 215 lbs in August of 2009, right before starting my final semester of college. I managed to "accidentally" lose 15 lbs that semester from having to walk up a giant hill several times a day to class and by eating less. That got me started and in Feb 2010 when I started my fulltime job, I committed 100% to it. I went from 200 lbs in Feb to 150 in December, so that's 50 lbs lost in about 10 months. After a 3 month plateau, I'm starting to lose again and my goal is 140.

3.) How do I feel about being smaller? How do I cope with still feeling like a "big girl" in my head?

It's something that I still deal with a lot. I do have much more confidence in myself now that I'm smaller, but growing up overweight is something that definitely sticks with you. Even though other people see me as being "tiny", I still think of myself as 9 lbs overweight. It's been incredibly difficult for me to get over the number on the scale, and the plateau was a challenge. I'm starting to get better, I accept that I'll never look like a Victoria Secret model in a bikini, but that isn't going to stop me from wearing one. It's just about finding clothes that fit me perfectly and having confidence that I look good. There's no reason to hide behind my weight anymore.

4.) Does my personal trainer have me do lots of circuits or strength training?

Oh yeah he does! That's the basis of my workouts. It's a 30 minute circuit and it's mostly intense strength training with cardio in it. We'll do lots of "knee ups", lunges and squats with a medicine ball, planks, crunches with a medicine ball (yeah, he loves that thing), and the strength machines. And then after the 30 minute session, I have to do 20-30 minutes of "good cardio" so the stair master or incline trainer or running on the treadmill. It's not easy, but I've definitely started to get some muscle tone and he's constantly upping the weight and intensity. I thought he was nuts when he handed me 12 lbs weights and said to do shoulder presses over my head with them. But I did it!

5.) How long did it take you to break your plateau once you figured out what worked?

It was a few weeks of eating more calories each day and upping my exercise by running (well, interval walk/running) 5K several times a week. When you're in a plateau, its usually because months of eating a high calorie deficit and working out daily has caught up to you and your body is in a starvation mode. It won't change back to working properly overnight once you change things. I didn't see any loss at all the first week. The second week I lost 0.3 lbs. Finally the third week I lost 1.2 lbs and this week I like 0.6. So it does take some time, and the loss might not be as fast as before the plateau. I'm aiming for between 0.5 and 1 lb a week to get me to my goal, some weeks it might even be lower depending on circumstances. So if you're currently trying to get out of a plateau, don't change things every week. Change your routine and give it 2-3 weeks. I know it's painful, but one thing I learned during the 3 months was that you just need to give it time for your changes to start working. 

 

I'll do another round of questions tomorrow. If you have more questions, please post them on THIS BLOG or send me a message :) 

Question and Answer Session! (The Question Part)

I've been getting lots of questions in the past few days from my new MFP pals who found me by way of my "Busting a 3 Month Plateau" blog, so I thought I'd address them in a forum that everyone could benefit from!

I know that when I started on here, I asked tons of questions and I greatly appreciated anyone who took the time to answer, even if they were silly. (And yes, I asked whether I should eat my exercise calories... LOL! Don't worry, that'll be the first question I answer so not need to ask it again). Now I'm on the flip side after losing 65 lbs, and I find myself doing the answering much more than the asking. Even though I'm not a professional, a trainer, a doctor, or a body builder, I've been through it already so I have quite a bit of insight into what works and what doesn't.

 

So this is where you come in! Post in the comments below or send me a message if you want your question to be anonymous and I'll pick a few in each blog post to address over the next few days. I've already gotten some in my messages but I suspect they are questions that will be asked again.

My rules are simple: ask anything and I'll answer honestly! I trust the people on here and I'm willing to share all the gory details about weight loss, growing up fat (yep, not afraid to use that word anymore), dealing with a skinnier self, etc. If I start getting scientific, it's something I've read over and over again and I'll try to link to useful resources if I can find something.

 

There you have it... ask away! 

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